Oktoberfest History


In October 1810 Crown Prince Ludwig who later became King Ludwig I., and his bride, Therese, namesake of the festival grounds, got married. As part of their wedding festivities that were held over five days, the Munich citizens were invited and attended a horse race, which was one of the main events during these days. Thereafter anniversary celebrations were held annually and the festivities became larger. In 1818 the first carousel was set up and various amusements that have been common back at these times, such as eating contests, goose races or tree climbing competitions started. After 1870 the first beer stands were build up to expand entertainment. As the number of people visiting the festivities increased, beer stands were replaced by beer halls in the late 1890ies. Even at that time the halls were sponsored by the local beer breweries, as it is still today.

The Octoberfest later was moved to September because of better weather conditions.


Nowadays the Octoberfest traditionally starts every year with the tapping of the first barrel of Octoberfest beer at 12 o´clock noon. This ritual has to be done by the mayor of Munich, Christian Ude, who is holding the office since 1993. When opening the Octoberfest every year at the 'Schottenhamel' tent, the first words spoken by Mr. Ude are 'O´zapft is´!' (= 'It is tapped!'). As a protocol demands, the first mug of beer has to be served to the prime-minister and only after this gesture, all other beer tents are allowed to start selling their beer to the visitors. All the other hosts of the different tents have to wait until 12 starting shots have been given as a signal that the Festival has been officially opened now. Many people put up to stand in line for many hours, just to attend the traditional opening.

What people really appreciate about the Octoberfest is the fact, that all the tents can be entered for free. It is possible to book seats in advance, which is highly recommended to larger groups. Otherwise you should expect to wait in line outside the tents or even inside to get a seat. Unfortunately those, who do not hold a seat, won´t be served with beer. For visitors coming on one of the crowded weekends it will be best to come early in the morning. But even if you cannot manage to enter one of the big beer tents, you can also feel the atmosphere when sitting outside in one of the beergardens around the tents, or exploring impressing attractions such as roller coasters, numerous fun rides, traditional chairoplanes or when tasting Bavarian food and sweets.

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